News Danny Dyer ‘proud’ he’s helped young gay men come out

The new star heaped praise upon the touching EastEnders storyline his character Mick Carter has been part of

Barton hopes his form has convinced doubters

Newcastle United and Joey Barton should have been a match made in heaven right from the off, but three-and-a-half years on they finally seem to have started to click. It's that time of year to reflect on Christmas past. Barton needs little reminding of his whereabouts in 2007, sat in a cell, shortly to be convicted of punching a teenager in the head 20 times, the culmination of a drunken night out that would see him serve 77 days of a six-month sentence for assault. Surely the doors on the last-chance saloon had been locked shut this time?

You Better Not Cry, By Augusten Burroughs

Written in the same self-deprecating, gently witty vein as David Sedaris' quirky vignettes, these thematic stories of Christmas confusions and misdemeanours are a delightful read.

The top 20 TV programmes for the festive season

In the not-too-distant past, tradition dictated that the whole family watched television together on Christmas Day, but what we view and how we view it has undergone a transformation. Gerard Gilbert reports and selects the 20 programmes not to miss during the festive season

The Jesus story with a hint of EastEnders

Tony Jordan's latest BBC drama proves you don't have to be a believer to make a good Nativity film, says Gerard Gilbert

JB Shorts 4, Joshua Brooks Bar, Manchester

The little festival of six playets known as JB Shorts is becoming something of a tradition in Manchester. This is the fourth year in which a group of writers and actors from TV soaps get together to do the kind of work that they wouldn't be allowed to do on the telly but which was what brought them into writing and acting in the first place. Denizens of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty, Two Pints of Lager, Heartbeat produce two hours that are polished, poignant and provocative.

Tanztheater Wuppertal / Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells, London<br/>Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Barbican Theatre, London

These are unquestionably giants of modern dance, but what contrasts these performances reveal

First 'Kama Sutra' audio book made

Historic sex guide the Kama Sutra is to be published as an audio book for the first time.

Swearing: When a curse can be a blessing

There's nothing like a spot of precision swearing on TV. It may not be big, says Fiona Sturges, but it can be clever

Fire to mark last orders for Eastenders' Queen Vic

One of the UK's most famous pubs will go up in flames as EastEnders' Queen Vic is destroyed by fire later this year, TV bosses confirmed today

BBC 1 will go HD by end of year

Programmes such as EastEnders, The Apprentice and The One Show are to be broadcast in high definition by the end of the year as the whole of BBC 1 goes HD, it was announced yesterday.

9.9m watched TV election debate

An audience of 9.9 million viewers watched last night's historic election debate between the three party leaders, figures showed today.

Ruck and Maul: Greenwood is punished by his own pupils at 'School of Hard Knocks'

Ever fancied giving a rugby pundit a good pasting? Sky Sports' 'School of Hard Knocks' will do it for you, in episode four of the series to be aired next Tuesday night. Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell are attempting to turn a bunch of East London ex-criminals and ne'er-do-wells into a rugby team, and the latest episode sees one player, known as Lucky, pile into Greenwood during a tackle session. A suitably gravelly voiceover comes from Steve "Phil Mitchell" McFadden of 'Eastenders' – surprising really, when Ross Kemp is the real-life rugby fan among the fictional brothers. Anyway, with two more episodes to come even the relentlessly positive Greenwood, whose dad Dick was one of England's greatest coaching innovators, is wondering if this motley crew are worth all the aggro.

Can telly still draw a crowd?

Despite the growing trend for 'event dramas', the nation rarely watches TV en masse, argues Fiona Sturges

Two Women, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London

Women on the verge of cliché
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Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
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The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
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The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
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Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
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footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
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Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
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Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
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Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?